CAPE TOWN – Stormers flyhalf Damian Willemse has been included in a 35-man Junior Bok training squad ahead of the 2018 World Rugby Under-20 Championship that kicks off in France next month.
Chean Roux’s squad will assemble in Stellenbosch on Monday for their fourth training camp before they meet Georgia in international friendlies on 13 and 20 April.
Following the camp, the SA U20s will get some more preparation when they travel to the United Kingdom from 30 April to 12 May, where they will square off against Scotland, Wales and England.
Willemse will attend the first week of the camp but will not participate in the warm-up game against Georgia. The 19-year-old will join the rest of the squad on Monday after attending the first day of the Springbok alignment camp in Vanderbijlpark on Sunday.
The Junior Bok group also includes Muller du Plessis, who will report for duty following his return from this weekend’s Hong Kong leg of the World Rugby Sevens Series.
“We will enter the next phase of our preparation at this camp as we switch into match mode, which is important with a little over seven weeks to go before the Under-20 Championship,” said Roux.
“We focused on putting the structures in place at the last three camps and now our emphasis will be on ensuring that we can implement those structures in match situations.
“Georgia are tough opponents who will challenge us physically and mentally, and that is exactly what we need as we take the next step.”
The SA U20s have been drawn in Pool C at the U20 Championship with Georgia, Ireland and France, and will kick off their campaign against Georgia on 30 May.
Players invited to Junior Bok training camp (9-25 April):
Forwards: Keagan Glade, Leon Lyons, Nkosikhona Masuku, Asenathi Ntlabakanye, Sazi Sandi, Alulutho Tshakweni, Tiaan van der Merwe, PJ Botha, Schalk Erasmus, Daniel Jooste, Ben-Jason Dixon, Salmaan Moerat, Ruan Nortje, PJ Steenkamp, Ruan Vermaak, Phendulani Buthelezi, Ryno Pieterse, JC Pretorius, Dian Schoonees, Muller Uys
Backs: Jack Hart, Rewan Kruger, Zak Bur, Lubabalo Dobela, Damian Willemse, Lyle Hendricks, Rikus Pretorius, Manuel Rass, Wandisile Simelane, Muller du Plessis, Tyrone Green, David Kriel, Gianni Lombard, Sihle Njezula, Abner van Reenen.